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‘Class of its own’: Edinburgh project celebrated at 2023 awards

Concrete Society

Innovation was celebrated as the Concrete Society brought together the best of the industry for its 2023 awards night.  

The event was attended by close to 400 people from the construction and associated industries. The award night was the 55th iteration as the longest-running award convention in the United Kingdom.  

“We are really pleased to be able to showcase once again the ‘best of the best’ in good concrete practice, both structurally and visually,” The Concrete Society managing director Kathy Calverley said. 

“There is constant innovation demonstrated in all of the projects and many of the features could only have be achieved because of the properties of that most versatile of materials – concrete.  

“With such a high standard it was difficult to make the final decision and we felt that four projects were particularly notable. The Outright Winner though is definitely in class of its own.” 

1 New Park Square, Edinburgh was the outright winner. Picture: The Concrete Society

Award judges visited all nominated projects to ascertain their merits. 1 New Square Park in Edinburgh was the outright winner on the night with the judges unanimously deciding the verdict.  

New Square Park was the first project in wider vision of low-carbon community living, it is built on using long-lasting materials, low energy usage all supported by an exposed concrete frame.  

“The visual impact of the concrete throughout the building is simply stunning. Walking into the main reception to see the exposed concrete being complemented by various forms of art and lighting is refreshing to see,” the judges’ comments read. 

“The GGBS partial replacement concrete being used for the walls with the darker CEM I concrete on the soffits creates a contrast, which works well throughout. Great attention was taken with the tie holes to ensure uniformity in design but also ensure the visual impact is not affected in any way. 

“Any blemishes actually add to the authenticity of the build. This building should be promoted and celebrated as a best use of concrete within construction.”  

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the nominating company, welcomed the award win.  

“We are absolutely delighted to receive this important award, as it recognises and endorses the ambition of the project to minimise materials and eradicate finishes to create a lean but delightful piece of architecture,” AHMM project lead and associate Matt Hart said. 

“One that minimises wastage in construction and energy use in operation, while exposing what is beautiful. A hardworking architecture that is robust, enjoyable to use and will stand the test of time. 

 “The entire team worked hard through challenging circumstances with invaluable attention to detail and care with concrete being the centrepiece. This building is the first of many at Edinburgh Park and has set a high bar on what is achievable through collaboration and a shared vision.” 

Four further projects were Highly Commended at The Society Awards Dinner: 

DAMAC Tower, Nine Elms, London – nominated by WSP UK 

The two 50-storey building is interconnected by a five-storey bridge and is sometimes referred to as the Jenga tower, due to its unique building silhouette in which the façades of the structure’s massing push and pull in and outwards. The project is a complex engineering feat made possible by concrete’s unique properties. The judging panel said, “The complexity behind this build is easily appreciated. The engineering involved is very complex and worthy of a commendation.” 

Newlyn Coastal R&D project, Penzance – nominated by the Environment Agency 

A field-based pilot project to evaluate the performance of various ecologically enhanced concrete armour units, which are designed to encourage the settlement of marine organisms, providing a carbon sink as well as withstanding high-energy wave conditions and 

providing shoreline stabilisation. The range of different concretes across the units will gain information on the material’s performance in these environments. Judges said, “Concrete serves an excellent functional purpose here and the project could lead to wider opportunities for the material’s development in this situation. This is truly an innovative project worthy of high praise.” 

Osiers Road, Wandsworth – nominated by Techrete UK 

This is a mixed-use development clad with multi-finish precast panels. The detailing and modelling are a testament to the planning involved to achieve the quality finish. The corner sections of the weave panels are remarkable. Judges described, “To get this amount of detailing is a testament to the planning involved.” 

The Salvation Army New THQ, Denmark Hill – nominated by Davies Maguire 

A new flagship office, built for The Salvation Army. It is a five-storey building, partially embedded into the sloping site and with a large central atrium. Exposed concrete ribbed slabs showcase a simple, clean and practical finish. The plain finish lift core walls are a good example of what The Society’s advisory team would reference and the judges added, “It would make a good reference for benchmarking. A fine example of visual concrete not over specified and practically achieved.” 

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